There are two events on the European Tour this week but we're shunning Australia for the each-way column and instead going to the beautiful island nation of Mauritius for a quintet of selections...
"Such form in the States reads well in this lower grade and the key angle is that Ernie designed this course. Plus this layout is very exposed and, lest we forget, The Big Easy was the greatest wind player alive at his peak."
EW Terms: 1/5 Odds | 6 Places
Dave Tindall: Back Justin Harding @ 30/1
I'm going to take a formulaic approach this week. The three winners of the Mauritius Open - Dylan Frittelli, Jeunghun Wang and George Coetzee - were all top 100 players at the time so the relatively little cream there is in this event rises to the top. This week there are just two players in the field ranked in the top 100 - 9/1 favourite Frittelli and World No. 90 Justin Harding. The South African was ranked 712th at the end of 2017 but has rocketed up the rankings after four wins in 2018. He has two other factors in his favour. South African players have won two of the three editions and all three winners had posted a strokeplay top 20 on their previous start so were in form. Harding ticks that box after T14 in Hong Kong last week.
Paul Krishnamurty: Back Ernie Els @ 40/1
Perhaps sentimentality is getting the better of me at the end of a long year but the Mauritius Open offers a legitimate chance to back my all-time golfing hero, despite having long given up on that option materialising again. Ernie Els may not be 'back' in the true sense of the word but there are distinct signs of life. He was third in a competitive Fiji International back in August and has made his last five cuts, recording excellent GIR stats in the process and shooting several low rounds. Such form in the States reads well in this lower grade and the key angle is that Ernie designed this course. Plus this layout is very exposed and, lest we forget, The Big Easy was the greatest wind player alive at his peak.
Steve Rawlings: Back Louis De Jager @ 50/1
As highlighted in the preview, two of the first three winners of this event have been South Africans and I've plumed for Louis De Jager to make it three from four. Scrambling was a key stat when this course was used for the event in 2016 so given the course's length and wide fairways, I've focused on big hitters with strong Scrambling stats. The 31-year-old, with four Sunshine Tour wins already in the bag, comes here in fine fettle having secured a European Tour card via Q-School just a fortnight after winning the Sibaya Challenge in his homeland.
Joe Dyer: Back Zander Lombard @ 66/1
Despite finishing sixth in the Irish Open and contending until Sunday at the Open Championship, 23-year-old South African, Zander Lombard, lost his European Tour card last season. A trip to Q-School didn't faze him though and he ended the six-round marathon tied at the top with Alejandro Canizares to earn his place straight back. He very nearly won in Sicily last year, losing a playoff to the vastly more experienced Alvaro Quiros, and he won in South Africa in August he's already shown us he can win. Zander has the powerful long game to prosper on this long and wide resort layout and he could get the season off to a flier.
Mike Norman: Back Bernd Wiesberger @ 25/1
It's a welcome return to action this week for Bernd Wiesberger who has been out with a wrist injury for the best part of six months. Obviously backing a player on his first outing for such a long time is a concern but the Austrian has been putting in a lot of practice and has had this tournament on his schedule for his return for a while now, so I have no concerns whatsoever over his fitness. At close to his best this four-time European Tour winner is one of the strongest players in this weak-looking field, and at a joint industry-best 25/1 I think he's worth chancing. He may well need the outing, only the next few days will tell, but the way I look at it is that if he'd have played somewhere else within the last fortnight and performed well, then he'd be half the price he is now.
2019 Season P/L to date: -£50.00
*2018 P/L: +£727.16
*2017 P/L: -£306.84
*2016 P/L: +£267.58
*2015 P/L: +£958.37
*2014 P/L: +£251.75